Not too long after the now infamous Rachel Dolezal scandal do we have what appears to be another Black rights activist being called out for allegedly pretending to be Black.
Shaun King, a prominent leader in the Black Lives Matter movement, has been claiming to be biracial when he is actually a white man, according to a report published Wednesday.
King, 35, denied the report.
King, who won a full scholarship from Oprah Winfrey to the historically black Morehouse College, has been a leading activist against police brutality. He has said he is the son of a white woman and a black man in various accounts online, including in a philanthropic feature Rebel magazine published in 2012.
But according to the conservative news website Breitbart, he is white. Breitbart claims to have unearthed King’s birth certificate from Sept. 17, 1979, which lists him as being born in Versailles, Ky., to a father named Jeffery Wayne King.
A subsequent mugshot of a Jeffery Wayne King, whose age on arrest records tallies with the father’s on King’s birth certificate, shows he is a white man, Breitbart said. The website also said the younger King declined repeated requests for comment.
The activist has detailed his own brush with “decades old racial tensions,” on his blog, 100 Life Goals.
“I had a dozen fights my freshman year, had a jar of tobacco spit thrown on me in the middle of the school day, and came a few feet away from being run over by a pickup truck full of guys who chased me down and nearly mauled me as I walked home from a school dance,” King wrote.
By his own account, King was one of 500 recipients of Winfrey’s scholarship for students who attended Morehouse in Atlanta — the same school where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went.
After Breitbart published its story, King took to Twitter to counter the claims.
“First off, the key facts about my biological relatives are all wrong. They tried, but my family, like many of yours, is one big mess,” King wrote. “Like many of you, I have siblings I don’t know, siblings I’m estranged from, and a family full of secrets, divorce, affairs, etc.”
The activist denied the report regarding his birth certificate and said his family history was complicated.
“No 2 siblings in my family have the same set of parents. We’re all over the place. Some of us are not even blood relatives,” he added. “If you have known me from when I was in elementary school at Huntertown Elementary until now, you’ve known me as black or bi-racial.”
The accusations against King echo claims made this spring against Dolezal, the former NAACP chapter president from Spokane, Wash. Dolezal, who said she identifies as black, resigned her position after it was revealed her parents are white.